A Harvest is the gathering in of the good things produced in the summer months of the year. Usually crops, fruit and vegetables of course. And our ‘Harvest Hoolie’ @:Toolerstone was pretty similar. A kind of gathering in of all the good folks who have helped to create and complete our new venture. A celebration of what has been brought about by a lot of hard work, creative thinking, kindness and dedication.
It has meant us making an awful lot of changes to Toolerstone House. But Toolerstone has been used to changes over its years. It started off life as a humble resting place for the monks and their animals from Vale Royal Abbey back in 1640. Since then, it has been a home to evacuated children in the war, some who have since returned for an emotional reunion. It has been developed significantly in the 1900s and again in the 1920s, and then again since we have owned it. When we turned up twenty years ago there was no tower, no Glass Room or greenhouses, no vegetable garden or pond and the gardens were mainly rough paddocks. So, I’m thinking that Toolerstone welcomes change and opens its doors to new possibilities. Our new venture @:Toolerstone is one of ‘giving back’. It’s going to be welcoming those who desperately deserve a break from the everyday and who need to feel cared for, rather than always being the ones to do the caring.
@:Toolerstone was only an idea back in January this year. An idea which was shaped between two friends, between me and Eleanor. We had a lot of meetings, a lot of laughs (some hysteria) and about two dozen eccles cakes, before finally deciding to go with it!
But ideas are one thing and we needed some help to make it actually happen, to make our idea into a reality. We needed the ‘G force’ (otherwise known as our Gary) who is one of the most hard working and dedicated people I’ve ever met (not bad for a scouser!). And we needed the support and adaptability of Toolerstone’s long serving and faithful pillars; Simon and his gardening team who have coped with all the physical changes going on in the grounds, at the same time as keeping the gardens looking amazing. And the lovely Wendy Woo who has dealt with all the changes to the interior of the house, some of which are still ongoing. We’ve grown as a family welcoming in ‘Barbara Darling’ who brings the magic from the kitchen (trays filled with Brownies, Millionaire’s shortbread and Ginger Parkin) and the Gorgeous Gail who is charged with bringing joy to our guests.
Our ‘Harvest Hoolie’ was a celebration of this new beginning for Toolerstone. The guest list included all of the aforementioned, along with the builders and joiners, electricians and plumbers who have built the amazing ‘Brew Shed’, good hearted neighbours who had come to lend a hand either with tools, or strong arms or just a good eye to help Gary put the finishing touches to the Glass Room. And Jeanette our website designer and Sarah our twig twister tutor…..and our friends and our families and their friends and their families …..and even the postman (lovely chap!).
They have all helped in some way to bring this change about and now it’s over to us, the @:Toolerstone ‘A’ team to bring the magic for the next chapter of this special house’s story.